After all, this is Roger Clemens we are taking about. It's his terms or no terms, compadre.
As expected, the 50-year old Clemens has been given an invitation by the Astros brass to pitch for them in an actual game - although Astros games are hardly games. With the upcoming schedule, featuring a meager Phillies team and a useless Cubs team, the timing was perfect for Rocket Roger to quietly accomplish whatever this is he trying to accomplish. The games will mean nothing to the standings and playoff races, so what could it hurt? It will put fans in the seats, that are otherwise camping out at Texans games, and give the baseball world something to watch during halftime of the NFL. Win-Win.
However, Roger has other plans. As reported by television station, KRIV, Clemens does want to take the mound in Houston, but he wants to do it against a contender.
''I can tell you right now and they would know too, that if I was going to go do it, I am going to pitch against a contender, that's who I want to knock out.''
This scenario will play out like a new-aged Natural, starring the old, falsely-accused - we think - pitcher, that wasn't shot in the stomach, like Roy Hobbs, but was shot in the heart by the system. Even Jose Canseco might shed a tear on this one; Rocket reaches back one last time, it's the ninth-inning, two outs, bases loaded - the atmosphere is nuclear. Rocket get's his sign, he comes to the stretch, and delivers....Strike THREE!!! The crowd goes bonkers, the owners go bonkers, Texas goes bonkers....then, by an electrical mishap, the lights explode, leaving Roger to walk off into the darkness to marry Glenn Close....I guess.
Only one problem with this blockbuster; it's not going to happen. The Astros are the laughing-stock of the MLB - maybe 2nd place to the Cubs - but at least they are not hated by other teams. A move like the one Clemens has in mind would make them hated and a laughing-stock. While one pitcher is not going to knock anything out of the playoffs, a loss by the hands of the Roger to either, the Cardinals or the Pirates, would leave a sour taste in mouths of many in the MLB. That's assuming he could even accomplish it - this is the Majors, not the Skeeters.
The argument in favor of the idea is that you have to win the game, regardless if Clemens is pitching or not. So what difference does it make? Well, a lot, actually.
The common-physicality of the MLB against other professional sports is the season length. Saying that it is 162 games does not even begin to paint the picture of how long and grueling the season really is. Each player and coach forms a special bond over such a difficult work year, which is why the club house is so sacred, and the season, no matter how good or how bad, is their own collective process. The factors that each team encounters over the year are difficult, so brain-scratching and demanding, and the success or failure is mentally exhausting. So for a pitcher to come in for one game at the end of the year, in order to boost his own ego, is incredibly stupid, and more importantly, not the way the game works.
If Roger Clemens wants to pitch in the majors again, fine. Let him pitch. It is amazing he can do what he has done in the past month and it would be interesting to see how he fares against MLB hitters. But keep the circus in check. Don't allow the the Rocket Man to perform during games against teams that have collectively worked so hard to be a success this year.
The Astros are not one of those teams. Let them play house with Roger, the Cubs and the Phillies. Leave the real game to the teams that are doing it right.